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The Case of the Missing Moon Rocks (Kindle Single) Kindle Edition

29 customer reviews

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Length: 47 pages

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Amazon.com Review

Of the 842 pounds of moon rocks that the Apollo missions brought home, all are kept in NASA vaults. All, that is, except a couple hundred "Goodwill Moon Rocks." These 1.5 gram pebbles were mounted on plaques and gifted to states, nations, and one man, Walter Cronkite. One of the very few things that Americans are not allowed to own is a moon rock collected by NASA missions. (Technically, NASA just loaned the rock to Cronkite.) Yet con men routinely attempt to sell moon rocks, and many of the Goodwill rocks, laden with Space-Race history and valued at five million dollars each, have fallen out of state hands. In this Kindle Single, history and science writer Joe Kloc follows NASA senior special agent Joseph Gutheinz as he quixotically tracks down the missing moon rocks. –Paul Diamond

Product Details

  • File Size: 144 KB
  • Print Length: 47 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: The Atavist (February 19, 2012)
  • Publication Date: February 19, 2012
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B007BGZNZ8
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #388,694 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Rett01 VINE VOICE on February 23, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Welcome to the world of space-crime, where the bad guys are intent on picking NASA's loosely guarded pockets by embezzling money budgeted for the Mir space station, by trafficking in artifacts from the Challenger disaster and most of all by selling lunar rocks brought back to Earth by Apollo astronauts.

During 17 lunar missions between 1961 and 1972, the Apollo program landed six spacecraft on the moon. Twelve Apollo astronauts remain the only humans to have walked on a celestial body other than Earth. They brought back nearly 900 pounds of lunar material and most of those rocks remain locked in NASA vaults.

As a goodwill gesture and to promote world order and peace, President Nixon in 1973 had one particular moon rock known as Sample 70017 cut into fragments and given on behalf of America to all U.S. states and 135 countries around the globe.

The "Goodwill Moon Rocks" each weigh in at an insignificant 1.5 grams, but they've become a huge obsession of Joseph Gutheinz, who has become a modern-day Don Quixote in his quest to recover some of those missing rocks, which over time have been lost, stolen or simply disappeared. When they do turn up it's usually on the Black Market and at asking prices in the millions.

Gutheinz wants the lunar artifacts returned where they belong. Operation Lunar Eclipse remains his most daring and successful sting. Posing as a wealthy collector, he was able to recover and return a missing rock to the Honduran government. A Florida fruit wholesaler had been offering to sell the rock for $5 million.

In his story, reprinted from the February 2012 issue of "The Atavist," Kloc follows Gutheinz in his erratic quest and also heads out on the trail of some of the other missing rocks.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Coywolf on February 24, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Enjoyable little book and a former NASA investigator who becomes obsessed with moon rocks.

Not as great as "Sex on the Moon", but a fascinating tale of someone who wants to find out the whereabouts of all of the moon rocks that Nixon gave out around the world.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Eddie on October 19, 2012
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The book was bought by me for its title and relation with the Moon Rocks, but the most interesting part is how detectives investigate difficult cases
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on October 4, 2012
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This is less a book than an extended journalistic account of the behind-the-scenes search for missing and misplaced moon rocks. Don't expect a lot of atmosphere - The Right Stuff this is not. Still, some interesting facts about the fate of some of the moon rocks that were given as presents by President Nixon during the Apollo program.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By TDub on September 16, 2012
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What a great way to spend 99 cents. Not a long novel, but I got a lot of enjoyment out of this little book. I thought it was money well-spent. Its a very quick read, but very interesting. Even the end notes kept me captivated...very short, but worth a dollar.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Katie on February 24, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
In this must-read piece, writer Joe Kloc profiles Joseph Gutheinz, a former NASA senior special agent turned guerilla-detective, long-obsessed with tracking down and returning moon rocks that were originally given away as "goodwill gifts" but are now sold on the black market for millions of dollars. The story involves a surprising (and famous!) mystery donor, South American dictators, a fruit-seller who dreamed of bigger things, and secret agent escapades so mind-boggling they feel clipped from a detective novel - but they're real. Kloc is both an excellent reporter and storyteller, and his piece is laugh-out-loud witty, but also explores deeper issues (why doesn't NASA care about retrieving their moon rocks?) and paints a fascinating portrait of Gutheinz, a modern-day Don Quixote.
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Although it is a bit of a short story on this subject, the subject itself is so interesting, you got to read it through to understand every little detail of it!
Loved the detailed information on something that many people never even take into account when it came to the Moon and the rocks they borrow back from it and where they ended up. If you are into History or anything about space, I'd totally suggest reading this! Short read, but a great one for the subject matter!
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Kloc's story of the missing Moon rocks is well researched (perhaps exhaustively) and shows every dint of hard reportage. It lacks only interest and excitement to keep it moving. There is no single "whodunit" that unites the disparate acts of the longform reportage, and there is no particular payoff. Perhaps that is because the stakes are so small--even though the material being stolen is rare (at least on Earth), there is less of a mystery involved than in any single Carmen Sandiego escapade.
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